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  CSPAN    Public Affairs    News  News/Business.  

    March 7, 2013
    10:00 - 1:00pm EST  

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host: 1 more tied question. ashley judd potassic running against senator mcconnell in your home state. do you think? thank you for your time. the committee is about to get underway. senator cornyn has sat down. you can see all the staff. it is less of a hearing. the senators will be throwing stuff back at each other, ideas and things like that. that is why the room is set up a little differently. [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] host: this host: ted an independent in union city, tennessee. caller: just a comment on the tax rights for your previous man you had in there. the republican. the rich -- their wealth has increased something like 275%, 370%. ed middle class remains stagnant, their wages. i understand tax them 100% won't cure the deficit. what the republicans don't understand it's still the right thing to do is to increase their taxes. now, the guy said we wanted to lower the corporate rate? everybody knows the corporate rate, the effective rate of the corporations is not that high. and i'd like to see c-span bring
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back professor charles craven i believe was his name from george washington university. you had him on just briefly. it was really interesting to me. thank you, sir. host: thank you for calling in. appreciate everybody participating this morning. we are going to go live now to the senate judiciary committee for their markup on different pieces of gun legislation. there's senator blumenthal of kentucky typing away on his blackberry. the senators are starting to geamplet it's going to be a minute or so before this hearing begins. you can see the crowds both staff and people who are interested in this issue there as well. we will be back live at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning on "the journal." this is live coverage of the senate judiciary committee.
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>> the senate judiciary committee committee gathering. the ranking republican, charles grassley of iowa there on your
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screen. a number of other senators as well. today they are going to work on four bills dealing with gun control issues and safety. they include an assault weapons ban. tougher penalties for illegal gun trafficking. and expanded background check system. they will also consider a ban -- bill on school safety as well as several judicial nominees. that will be the beginning of the session today. we expect that to be anyway. senator chuck schumer of new york and tom coburn of oklahoma have been working on a bipartisan compromise on the background checks bill. live coverage here on c-span as we wait for the rest of the committee to gather in.
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>> the chairman of the judiciary committee, senator patrick leahy, coming in. again a markup session for gun control legislation. >> good morning.
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we have one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine senators. i think, senator grassley, we can get going. first off i want to thank senator paul for having a filibuster which kept everybody still in town so we can have a quorom to talk about guns that may not have been his number one reason for doing it, but we take ancillary benefits wherever they come from. last week we all had the opportunity to talk about legislation before the committee regarding gun violence in america. we gave our speeches. and i hope we could make significant progress.
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earlier this week i was joined by senator collins, senator durbin, gillibrand, and senator kirk in the introduction revised legislation to combat the straw purchasing and trafficking of firearms. others have joined us in that bill including senator clow chew char, senator king, and i'll plan when we get on it i'll offer a substitute we find the provisions with the text of the leahy-collins bill. i reach out to the senators, those discussions bore fruit. the substitute incorporates a pending bills provision, and its creation of a specific crime for straw purchasing designed to prevent criminals from using straw purchasers who can pass a background check and then hand those firearms to the criminals. straw purchasers circumvent the
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purpose of the background check system, and we have found many -- everything from drug gangs to others who have used guns that the gang members could not have bought but the straw purchaser has. straw purchasing is done only to get a gun in the hands of somebody who is prohibited from having one. i think we need a meaningful solution to this problem. as substitute we include suggestions, senator gillibrand, to require those that traffic in firearms by wrongfully obtaining two or more firearms, and we'll give law enforcement more effective tools. the substitute also incorporates a number of changes, the result of suggestions from senator grassley and his staff. we have been working on this since january. tried to be responsive to the
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ranking member's concerns and suggestions, and have reached across the aisle to other senators. as a a.t.f. whistleblower, senator grassley has been the lead senator in whistleblower legislation, was a a.t.f. whistleblower, who testified last congress that the existing laws are toothless and they can help law enforcement -- can't help law enforcement, and that's why law enforcement consistently has called for firearms trafficking statute that can be effective and go after straw purchasers. we need now is to create better law enforcement tools. and i think this will -- the senators can join together on this will close a very dangerous loophole in the law that mexican drug cartels and gangs and other criminals have exploited for too long.
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stop illegal trafficking the firme arms act is important. this week -- the firearms act is important. this week the "usa today" ran a front page story about a study that estimates gun violence costs americans $12 billion, $12 billion a year. i don't care whether it's $12 billion or $10 billion or $2 billion, we ought to do what we can in this committee to mitigate those unnecessary costs. i want to yield to senator grassley and then we'll take -- i think we have four or five nominees prepared to go forward. senator grassley. >> i would like to suggest three steps here. one would be to take care of the nominations. the other one i have an issue that i'd like to just make a
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statement on. and then i have a general statement on the -- this whole issue of the four different bills, and i would like to have any of my members that want to make statements just before you bring up the legislation and then have debate on the legislation. >> obviously i'll give time -- i think we tried last week to get as many of those statements, including mine and yours, out of the way, but naturally i'll yield to people who wish to make statements. some are going down for the bill signing, and others i do not want to lose a quorom. go ahead. >> as you can see from the absence on my side except for maybe three of the newer members, we all have people that have responsibilities in other committees. that's why i bring that up. let me say that we are able to, i think, unless one of my member
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s want a vote on -- members want a vote on alahandros i think we can do all the nominations by voice vote. why don't we do that first? >> you want a roll call? >> we do not need a roll call now i have been informed by that one member. >> i would -- why don't we -- i appreciate your cooperation. i would ask consent that we consider sherry shapell, michael j. mcshane, nitza al handrow, lee wuse strapo and jeffrey schmell, we consider enplanning, all of those in favor say aye. opposed? the ayes will be unanimous.
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and shapell, mcshane,al handrow, strapo and schmell. >> following up on that i would like to bring up something you brought up yesterday at a hearing i very much appreciate your bringing up. and that is at the oversight hearing with general holder there was a significant discussion about the oil sea memoranda regarding targeting killings americans abroad. chairman leahy and i wrote to president obama on february 7, one month ago, asking that he instruct the attorney general to provide these memoranda to the judiciary committee. i don't think -- at least i haven't, i don't think the chairman's received a response. i wanted to highlight a statement that chairman leahy made to general holder yesterday regarding the possibility that this committee subpoena the documents.
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i want everybody, both republican and democrat, to know i fully support the chairman in this effort and would urge that absence a response from the president that we move forward with a vote on subpoena for these memoranda in the near future. then i'll go to my statement. i'm nod asking you to comment, but at least you know how i feel about it. but i think you feel strongly about it or you wouldn't have brought it up. >> i also spoke again with the attorney general now going into private conversation, i think that he's -- he would like us to be able to see that and i think the decision we remains within the white house. i'm sorry they haven't even responded to our letter, but if need be we will subpoena because it is a matter, and we are going to have, for those of you who weren't there at the hearing when we talked about this, we are going to have a hearing on
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domestic use of droughns in this committee -- drones in this committee. it would be helpful to have that, helpful but not necessary to have that letter prior to that time, but we are going to have many of you on both sides of the aisle have raised concerns about the domestic use of drones and we will have a significant hearing on that. thank you. >> the committee and subcommittee have held three hearings and legislation related to our purpose of voting bills out today. while i believe that addressing violent -- violence requires examining more than guns, guns were the near exclusive focus of those hearings and will be the near exclusive focus of the bills the committee sees fit to mark up. all of us were strongly affected by what happened in newtown. all of us want to take effective action to prevent future
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tragedies, but we have different deeply held approaches to do so. what we are talking about today is freedom, freedom not only guaranteed by the constitution but what the supreme court recognized as a pre-existing right of self-defense. individuals do not need the government's permission to defend themselves. today gun violence rates are at the lowest level in 50 years. this is a tremendous accomplishment. there are many reasons for it, including longer incarceration of dangerous criminals, abolition of parole, and police practices. this drop in gun violence has occurred even as there are more guns in the country than ever before. it has occurred after the supreme court has found the second amendment to be a fundamental right, and after many states have increased the ability of law-abiding citizens to own guns. the drop has also occurred despite any new federal gun control enactment in almost 20
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years. but a majority of the committee seems determined to impose more gun restrictions on law-abiding citizens. consider the assault weapons ban. this bill represents the biggest gun ban proposal in our history. a similar ban was enacted in 1994. and the justice department's own studies failed to show that the ban had any effect. some of my colleagues speak, we invite demonled rumsfeld on this point and i quote him, absent of evidence isn't evidence of absence. but the assault weapon ban did not work. and just this year the deputy director of the national institute of justice wrote that, quote, an assault weapons ban is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence. but rather than trying something different, the first bill on the agenda is an assault weapons ban. it is based on how guns look not
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the damage they do. and ar-15 is prohibited while a mini 14 is exempt because one has a wooden stock and the other a plastic one. other guns that are more powerful than prohibited guns are exempted. the gun that -- guns that it bans are not ones that are used in the military. as they are semiautomatic. they are in common use. and banning large capacity magazines last fails a rational basis scrutiny when the bill exempts a class of shotguns that can be continuously reloaded. the bill is not like passing a law that criminalizes speeding. it is like banning the manufacturer of cars with hood ornaments from having the capacity of exceeding 65 miles per hour while exempting trucks from the same requirement. at the hearings the justice department did not endorse a
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specific ban, but said that nonetheless that a ban could be constitutional. they did not suggestion what level of scrutiny courts would apply to a bill with second amendment implications. they also said that they would develop an analysis of the bill's constitutionality, but it speaks volumes when we are about to mark up such a bill and that analysis is not forthcoming. i think it is necessary to point out that had this bill been law at the time, sandy hook still would have happened. it would not have stopped a mentally disturbed person while stealing a gun that this bill would have not banned from his mother and then shooting unharmed children at a school for several minutes before police arrived. on background checks without notice we were given an entirely new bill late yesterday. i know the sponsor says that he
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does not intend to create a national gun registry, and i accept that as his intent. i would just say that the deputy director of n.i.j. recently wrote that universal background checks can be enforced only if there is gun registration. i note that at the hearings some stated that criminals are foiled from buying guns because they do not go to gun stores to buy guns. they recognize that prohibited persons do not now submit the background checks although they obtain guns which is why they want to expand checks. but they fail to recognize that criminals won't be any more likely to submit to expanded background checks than they are currently. they will go around supposedly universal checks to steal guns or buy them in the black market. when the universal background checks don't work, then registration will be proposed to enforce them. when that doesn't work, because criminals won't register their
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guns, we may be looking at confiscation. there is a refusal to consider that gun control of law-abiding citizens does not work. if gun control worked, we would expect to see that places with stricter gun laws would have less crime than those where it was easier for law-abiding citizens to have guns. instead, law-abiding citizens obey the laws and criminals don't. and those areas with gun control often have more crime. under federalism, state and local -- localities are laboratories of experimentation. results of different approaches come in and then the federal government learns which laws work better than others as it considers national legislation. but that is not what is argued for gun control. we are asked to adopt nationally the policies that have not worked at the state and local level. we are told that poor results in places with gun control are due
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to more lenient gun rules elsewhere in the have a sinity -- vicinity, but if that were true one would expect more crime in the suburbs where guns are lawfully available than cities where there are not. and the states where guns are not easily able to be purchased than in states where they are not. however, this is not the case. restrictions on gun rights of law-abiding citizens do not work. again, rather than trying to approach a different approach, supporters of gun control not only want to double down on failed strategy, they want to impose on the nation as a whole despite the second amendment. i do think that action can be taken on gun trafficking and straw purchasing, but because those are actions by criminals and occur across state lines, i am glad that we have a bill on that subject on the agenda. i appreciate the efforts of the chairman and other senators to be receptive to changes to the
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original legislation. and when that bill comes up, i'll speak about that. the final bill on the agenda is school safety bill. that bill originally had an enormous cost at time when we were entering a sequester. however senator boxer and senator warner, the bill's sponsors, have shown flexibility on spending amounts and other issues, and so i want them to know that i appreciate those efforts. mr. chairman, republicans will make sure that we get the finality on these bills, and not meaning any criticism they were not ready to consider -- to be considered last week, we will raise a fairly -- small number of amendments which is how the committee process works. we are not standing in the way of any of these bills from being voted in a timely fashion. a number of members on the democrat side made statements about these bills last week and i know that members on my side
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would like to at this point. thank you very much. >> thank you. i appreciate the cooperation. bring up s. 54, the trafficking bill. stop illegal trafficking in firearms act. and following normal procedure, i will amend it with my substitute which is based on the text of the leahy-collins bill. i assume there is no objection to the substitute. it's a bill -- without objection. the bill as amended by the substitute is now opened for further discussion and amendment. >> if i could, i would start the discussion. before i make a statement, i
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think -- i have not talked to senator sessions. i talked to senator cornyn. you folks want to make statements overall or you're ready to go to straw purchasing bill? it's on the agenda now. so the chairman has the right to bring it up. or do you want to go right to this? >> i have statements on both, but i'd be happy to address the straw purchasing bill first. >> how about you, senator sessions? >> i'll proceed with the amendment process. >> we are ready to go on your bill. can i speak now? >> sure. go ahead. >> ok. i greatly appreciate the substitute amendment. i have offered an amendment to the bill which i will discuss separately. federal legislation needed on subjects of straw purchasing and gun trafficking will strengthen efforts to combat illicit firearms. when i conducted my oversight of the justice department failed operations fast and furious, i was told by whistle blowers that
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there were gaps in federal laws concerning straw purchasers which should be addressed, and this is our opportunity to do it. mr. chairman, you have worked with me on your bill making many changes at my request. they have made the bill better and reduced the negative side effects of previous versions. i trust you think so as well because you have included the changes in the new bill. the new bill in your substitute amendment also included a revised bill by senators gillibrand and kirk on the subject of gun trafficking. those revisions also reflect changes that i asked senator gillibrand to make, and i think it would be worthwhile to outline all the changes that have been made to the bill since they were first introduced. i think they demonstrate good faith of the chairman and senator gillibrand. for instance, senator gillibrand's bill originally would have made it a federal crime to transfer two or more guns if that person knew that the result would be a violation
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of state or local law. that would have given states and localities a one-way incentive to address new gun control measures and force the cost of prosecution and incarceration on the federal government. it also would have created for the first time a situation in which violation of state criminal law was an element of federal offense. she took that provision out at my request. i raised similar concerns about the language in the chairman's bill and you also removed that language. senator gillibrand also accepted major and minor drafting suggestions, including clarifying what intent was necessary to commit a crime, harmonizing penalties, changing the gift exception, altering the directive for the sentencing commission, and others. chairman has also made changes to his bill at my request compared to when senate s. 54 was originally introduced, it is now directed only at straw
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purchasers not at all transfers on behalf of another. this allows people to buy for people as part of a legitimate business, it preserves private sales. now the bill goes to actual straw purchasers, those who purchase a gun on behalf of a prohibited person. like senator gillibrand, you harmonize penalties at my request and removed references to federalizing violation of state or local law. you made changes regarding sales to persons who do not reside in the state. you took language -- took out language concerning teerlt of false statements on -- materiality of false statements on the forms. separated the rules for purchase from licensed dealers from those of private sales. limiting and -- and also limiting the bill to engaging indirectly in the conduct that is already illegal. you have protected the right of law-abiding citizens as i have
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outlined in ways that i believe were not protected in either the original straw purchasing bill or the original trafficking bill. as a result of the changes to each bill and to their combination in the substitute, the bill now covers only criminals and law-abiding -- and not law-abiding citizens. since you have made good -- shown good faith, i will now demonstrate mine as well. some on my side believe the bill needs more work to resolve outstanding issues between now and when the bill goes to the floor. that is something that i hope will happen with the chairman's help. with that understanding and if my amendment is adopted, i will vote to report your bill out today. i thank you for what you have done so far, mr. chairman. >> thank you. i appreciate that. you and i have worked closely on this as we have on a number of things. our bill is tough on criminals. it's crafted so it won't sweep in private seller and buyer of firearms.
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but it's done in way that we can deter those who abuse the trust of a firearms dealer by engaging in straw purchasing. you noted a lot of your concerns are reflected in my substitute amendment. i understand the intent behind the amendment that you are raising. i am concerned the amendment could unduly hamper other law enforcement operations that are properry supervised. including terrorism and drug investigations. we all agree that the government should never permit guns to be transferred to dangerous criminals. this happened in fast and furious. but sometimes to combat straw
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purchases the government has to o be given latitude to act on a tip and arrest a straw purchaser upon or immediately after a sale, but having said that, i will -- hope we'll continue to work together prior to the time the bill comes to the floor. so i am -- if there is no objection i'm prepared to accept your amendment. >> let me -- i offer the amendment. since you said what you just said, i'm going to put my statement in the record. let me say that i'm willing to consider reasonable changes to my amendment provided the changes don't harm the goals of holding the department of justice accountable for gun operations where veps could walk . fast and furious was a debacle that will haunt the department of justice for decades.
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these operations need oversight and accountability. and from that point on oversight and accountability, i think that's an area where i have to draw the line if you'll take that into consideration. >> without objection, the bill is amended by the amendment of the senator from iowa. are there other amendments? >> mr. chairman. >> senator cornyn. >> mr. chairman, i believe that stop illegal trafficking firearms act of 2013 which would create several new criminal penalties and amend statutory authorities to target weapons trafficking -- >> eagles cues me, if the senator would withhold just a second. senator hatch has a statement he want the to -- wants to include in the record. without objection. a -- also clarify the amendment we just accepted was senator
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grassley was alb-13193. >> yes. >> my concern is that this bill is a solution in search of a problem. straw purchasing for purpose of directing guns to people who cannot legally attain them is already a crime. so we double down and say this time we really mean it. when in fact the real problem, i think, in many instances, is the lack of prosecution of existing crimes by the department of justice. as i have said earlier and i'll say again, i have a hard time explaining to my constituents back home how passing more laws that will go unenforced make them any safer. so i'm -- while i understand the desire to act to seem like we are doing something, i worry about the disconnect between the
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action and any solution to the problems that we all are concerned about. i also worry, mr. chairman, that this legislation which has been shared with my staff, i understand, about the last 36 hours, we haven't had an adequate opportunity to try to vet it and understand what its ramifications might be, and my hope would be that there would be some additional time offered that we could try to work with your staff and work on a bipartisan basis to address the concerns we have. for example -- >> you're talking about the amendment that was introduced and circulated on monday? today is thursday. >> my staff advises it was circulated yesterday. >> it was introduced on monday. >> my staff tells me we got it
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yesterday. the point is, let me just give you an example. for instance, the bill would make it a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison for a person to attempt or plan to buy a firearm as a gift or raffle item. if the person neglectly fails to know that the recipient is prohibited from purchasing a firearm. in other words, this bill would make it a serious felony for an american legion employee to neglectly transfer a raffled firearm to a veteran who unknown to the transferor suffers from ptsd. that example, and i'm sure there are others, causes me concern that we are getting ready to vote on a piece of legislation when we really don't know what the scope or the consequences of the legislation are. which to me counsels taking our time and making sure we understand what the impact will
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be rather than passing legislation that will have unintended consequences that none of us would endorse, but which in our haste to try to do we are doing something, we end up creating that unintended consequence. >> you're talking about your amendment atm-13249, is that correct? >> i'm talking about s. 54 stop illegal trafficking -- >> identify understand. are you introducing an amendment -- >> ife not offered an amendment. -- i have not offered an amendment. >> if there are no amendments, then the clerk will call the roll on s. 54 as amended. >> i wanted to share something on that. mr. chairman, i do express concern about the penalties and
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-- in this -- and this legislation is difficult to write. i know the chair has worked hard on it. i have some concerns about it. in general i support the concept of what you're doing. i think the department of justice has said there are areas in which they are not able to effectively enforce these laws. and they need better legislation . and i'm inclined to think that that's so. although i would note to my colleagues that if you provide a gun to someone that's intending to use it in a drug crime or problemry or a murder, you're an aider and abettor which makes you chargeable with a murder, or part of a conspiracy to do that and you're chargeable in that way. and that's the way it's normally prosecuted today. so if you go into a gun dealer and certify and the 4473 form, i
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have prosecuted these cases, if you lie on that form, you are subject to a false statement and the penalties are in the code set forth. i suppose if the person leaves the country like in the -- on situation we had at the border where thes guns go into another country, it's difficult -- all you got left is a violation of the paperwork regulation. that may not be sufficient to properly punish a person. or it may leave you difficult -- fundamentally i think you have some valuable legislation here. but i am a bit troubled by the size of the penalty. i know the chair wants to be tough on this, but at the same time we want to be consistent with other penalties. carrying a firearm during a drug offense is five years.
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if you brandish it and threaten somebody, it's 10 years. mandatory minimum. so you've got 15 years in this offense for providing a gun to somebody who may use it illegally, which would be -- i'm not sure that that's coherent with our -- >> are you saying i'm being too tough? >> maybe. really. of course some of this will be decided by the sentencing guidelines. >> most of the people i prosecuted back in vermont thought i was too tough, too. >> i have always been aggressive in prosecuting these cases. i would say to you i would just share my concern about that issue. think we could fix it and probably solve some problems. >> ok. the clerk will -- >> mr. chairman, could i just ask one last question? >> of course. >> is it the intent of the
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authors of the bill to make it a crime punishable for up to 20 years for a person to attempt or plan to buy a firearm as a gift or raffle item the person neglectly fails to know the recipient is prohibited from purchasing a firearm? for example? >> no, we -- >> an american legion employee -- >> we drafted it -- >> unknown to the transferor suffers from ptsd is that the intent of the authors of the legislation? >> no. >> that is the result of this legislation which i suggest is not -- we need to take our time to make sure we understand what we are doing here. and the problem is senator grassley's amendment was offered just a few moments ago, which you accepted, and i appreciate the fact that you all are able to work together so well, and this committee should be working together, but to jam through legislation that we don't know what the consequences are which would criminalize this american legion employee i think is not
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our intention. but that is the result of the legislation of everyone who votes in favor of this bill as currently written. that can't be our purpose. >> and that is not the way the legislation is written. you and i have a different view of that, but it's not the way the legislation is written. it is not the way the legislation is intended. we'll have plenty of time before this matter comes on the floor. if you convince me that you're right and i'm wrong on this, i'll be happy to consider an amendment, even further clarification, but we have been very careful to be sure we don't sweep in innocent transfers between private buyer of the nature you are talking about. the other senator from texas. >> mr. chairman, i wanted to thank the chairman for his good and hard work on this bill, and i think this bill has the
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potential for providing some real bipartisan agreement. i think from the beginning members of this committee on both sides of the aisle have agreed that efforts to focus on violent criminals should be the primary area of focus for preventing violent gun crime. i think this bill takes steps in that direction. i agree with the senior senator from texas that i have concerns that certain language, particularly the language in 932 could potentially sweep too broadly and could potentially sweep in innocent purchasers rather than those knowingly participating in violent crime and knowingly aiding those who would participate in violent crime from acquiring firearms. i do think there is potential. before this bill is voted on in the floor of the senate to reach some bipartisan agreement that
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could end up having wide agreement. so i thank the chairman for that and i think -- language can be narrowed so we can be sure not to sweep in innocent conduct. i think we could find wide agreement in the underlying framework here. >> i come from the state where the kind of innocent purchase back and forth you talked about often happened. as you know i'm a gun owner. i spend a lot of time with my fellow gun owners, and one of the -- i don't know film' the only person in this committee, but i'm probably one of the few who have a pistol range in my back beyond a reasonable doubt which -- backyard which i use except when we have two feet of snow. so i'll be happy to sit down with you. i'm wondering -- we have a lot ahead of us. if we have the clerk call the roll. >> let me say one thing. >> 15 seconds.
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>> what the senator -- two senators from texas have brought up are concerns that i have had, and that's what i have been trying to work for. obviously i haven't satisfied these two senators, but i just want you to know those were the things that we have been trying to solve here and hopefully we have solved them. but i'll have to try to convince you of that. but i'll still work to help you get changes made if you think they ought to be made. >> mr. chairman -- >> senator sessions, you wish to be heard again? if >> i believe the language you used is reasonable cause to believe that they might be unable to receive a firearm, which is pretty close to what senator cornyn says is negligence. so you've got some cause to believe your brother-in-law may have had -- been convicted of a felony or may have -- dealing --
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selling drugs. you brought him a gun and if he used the gun during a drug offense, he gets five years. but if you sell the gun to him you can get 15. >> my brother-in-law is a well respected catholic priest and professor. >> that's too broad a language and i hope to be able to support the legislation. we can talk about it. thank you for allowing us to continue this negotiation. for today i would record a no vote. >> i have tried to follow existing law, the clerk will call the roll. >> mrs. feinstein. >> eye. >> mr. schumer. >> eye. >> mr. durbin. >> mr. whitehouse. >> miss klobuchar. eye. >> mr. franken. >> eye. >> mr. coons. >> eye. >> mr. blumenthal. >> mr. grassley, eye. >> mr. no by approximately. >> mr. graham.
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>> no by proxy. >> mr. cornyn. >> no. >> mr. lee. >> no by proxy. >> mr. cruz. >> no. >> mr. flake. >> no. >> mr. chairman. >> aye. >> mr. chairman votes are 11 yeas, seven nays. >> the senator from texas. >> so you don't think i'm trying to pull your leg, there was a complete substitute -- >>ure' not the one that talked about my brother-in-law. >> there was a complete substitute at your office at 4:16 yesterday. is when we got the language. >> i was on the floor introducing it on monday. >> i'm not saying you personally delivered it to our office. i'm saying your shop emailed it to our office at 4:16 yesterday. that's my only point. thank you. >> all right.
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and trust me my brother-in-law's a good guy. >> i had the honor of meeting your brother-in-law. >> i know you have. and he's done the prayer at the opening of the session several times. i must say just for -- it has nothing to do with this thing, but one of the things that he's found the biggest thrill when he has been the visiting clergyman for the senate is being able to spend the day on the floor. and so many senators, republicans and democrats alike, have come up to talk to him. i did point out that he's much nicer than his brother-in-law, more like his sister. i yield to senator feinstein who has s. 150. senator feinstein. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman. i want to -- thank you very
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much, mr. chairman. i want to thank you for allowing me to hold the hearing. i want to just report to you that we heard from one bereft and greefing -- grieving father who lost a precious son at sandy hook. we heard from the trauma surgeon there who took care of their bodies and talked about what these weapons with the bullets do when they explode inside the body. we heard from the head of the united states conference of mayors, mayor nutter of baltimore -- excuse me of philadelphia who assured us of their support. we heard from chief flynn of baltimore who assured us of the support of the chiefs and talked about his city. i want to acknowledge the presence of chief johnson of the baltimore county police department's here.
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and we had a demonstration of a slide fire stock placed in an ar-15, which was able to alternate the gun between semiautomatic and fully automatic fire, excuse me, chief flynn is from milwaukee. i have been very concerned because the calls have been coming in as if this is some kind of wild-eyed scheme. it is not. every single poll that has been done in the united states has shown that a majority of people favor this legislation. we have endorsements from virtually every religious organization, every medical organization, mayors, police, women's movement supporting this legislation. and yet it's as if we have a minority unsubstantial piece of legislation.
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whether it's a johns hopkins poll, 69%, mayors against illegal guns at 81% t. it's been a very hard -- 81%, it's been a very hard road. there's been argument by the opposition this measure is unconstitutional. i deeply believe that it is not unconstitutional. it is basically formed from the prior legislation. legislation which survived testings -- tests in the fourth, in the sixth, in the ninth circuit and the d.c. circuit. no assault weapons legislation statewide in this country ever has been found unconstitutional. and the heller decision clearly stated, and i quote, the rights secured by the second amendment is not unlimited, end quote. and, quote, dangerous and unusual weapons, quote, could be
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prohibited. since heller state assault weapons, as i said, have been upheld and no court that i am aware of has ever found an assault weapons ban to be unconstitutional. over 50 distinguished constitutional law professors, including conservatives and libertarians from our nation's leading law schools, including harvard, stanford, yale, and chicago signed a statement confirming that an assault weapons ban is constitutional. i particularly want to thank the co-sponsors on this committee. i want to acknowledge the long-standing support of the man who presented the ban in the house of representatives over 10 years ago. the distinguished senator from new york. i want to point out that senator durbin's support in the committee was really strong and appreciated. and i want to thank virtually all of the other co-sponsors in this room.
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i want to just point out that i carefully watched senator blumenthal. i saw his care. i saw his -- and senator murphy, too, his representation of that deeply affected community in connecticut and i just want you to know i have deepest respect goes to you for what has been a very hard venture. i'm particularly grateful for your support of this legislation. now, what does this legislation do? it bans specific assault weapons by name. 157 in this instance. it protects the rights of gun owners to possess weapons for legitimate hunting and sporting and defense uses. by excluding many more weapons by make and model, over 2,000 of them. it grandfathers all present weapons. if they are transferred, it
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subjects the transferee to a background test. it does not require registration. it applies to military characteristics test to judge future weapons to prevent gun manufacturers from evading the ban by simply changing the name of the weapon. or a physical characteristic of the weapon. we tried to learn from the last bill and refine this bill to avoid the problems of gun manufacturers simply getting around the bill. the features that we use were originally developed for military weapons for one reason, to make the weapon more effective and efficient at killing people in combat situations. as chief flynn of the milwaukee police department testified last week, and i quote, assault weapons are built to inflict violence against humans.
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their military characteristics are not simply cause matic in nature. these weapons are designed for combat. i have watched even police departments get outgunned. in the nine years i was mayor of san francisco we started out with police issue being a .38 caliber revolver. we have seen that escalate. we have seen shotguns be removed from squad cars and replaced with assault weapons. why? because of an increasingly armed criminal element that police often have to go up against. i watched as the los angeles police department had to break in to a gun store to take weapons to be able to counter what was going up against them following a robbery in los angeles. i don't know why anyone would object to drying up the supply
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of these weapons over time. they are not good hunting weapons. many states have limits on the number of bullets that can be on a clip. and who's going to respect a hunter with a 30-round clip and an assault weapon going after a deer? i certainly am not one that would. so the intention of this is to dry up the supply over time. while homicides in general are down in this country, mass killings are not. and the fact is that these assault weapons have a great attraction for grievance killers, the people that go into law offices as they did in san francisco and shoot down 14 people, the man who went into the aurora theater just to kill people with 100-round drum in an assault weapon. and we have seen it in universities, we have seen them in elementary schools, and now we have seen them used against
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first graders. the time has come, america, to step up and ban these weapons. yeah, they are very important part of this bill is -- the other very important part of this bill is to ban large capacity ammunition feeding devices. those that hold over 10 rounds. we have federal regulations and state laws that prohibit hunting ducks with more than three rounds, yet its legal to hunt humans with 15 round, 30 round, even 150-round magazines. limiting magazine capacity is critical because it is when a criminal, a drug dealer, a deranged individual has to pause to change magazines and reload that the police or brave bystanders have the opportunity to take that individual down. we saw the scenario happen in tucson, arizona, where the
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madman who shot our former colleague, gabby giffords, was taken down when he had to change magazines. so my view is that how could i stand by and see this carnage go on? and members, this isn't going to stop. it's going to continue on. and we have a chance to do something about it. i cannot tell you how much i was -- i was mayor of san francisco for nine years. i walked into places i saw the carnage firsthand. and at that time i really dedicated the rest of my life to do something about it. so this is an opportunity. i want to thank those who are with me. i don't know that i could convince those that are not, but i intend to keep trying. thank you, mr. chairman. >> do you have any amendment to your amendment? >> i do not.
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>> are there amendments to the -- to senator feinstein's? first senator grassley. >> i appreciate senator feinstein's sincerity. i expressed that three or four times at the last hearing i suppose as much as i oppose her bill. she wonders whether i appreciate her sincerity or not. she has been an important issue for her for 20 years. and we all have to feel for the victims of newtown, but there are other parents of children who were killed at sandy hook elementary school who mourn the loss of their loved ones no less, and yet feel very differently about the ways
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congress should respond. on tuesday i spoke to mr. mark mateoly, his son james was one of those victims. even in his grief he sent me a letter that he authorized me to seek consent to place in the record and quote during the debate. he describes how no one should have to endure what he has endured, and of course no one should. he wrote, quote, i can understand where a knee-jerk reaction comes from to ensure never again. i caution that we employ common sense and do not hand over any liberty which is protected by the constitution, end of quote. i agree. we continue to wait for the justice department constitutional analysis of the bill despite statements by the department of justice witness at two hearings on this matter.
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i have yet to see an opinion from the department arguing that this bill is constitutional. i appreciate the input of other scholars who have offered their opinions as witnesses, but the justice department has or should have a different role in providing us with a constitutional aalies. i go back to -- analysis. i go back to the father saying that the debate should not be about controlling guns, but controlling people who cannot control themselves like people with mental illness and felonies. . i agree with him on this point. then he writes, quote, for those who tell me that my son and 25 others were killed that day with an assault weapon, i challenge them to consider, end
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of his quote, other important factors. he says that assault weapons, quote, are not a threat to our safety, end of quote, and he's very focus ready on improving mental health services. he also opposes the limit on magazine compass its. he asks, quote, with 250 million guns in the united states, how are you going to make me safer by reducing new magazines to one, five or 10 rounds? question mark. he continues to say, you will not increase my safety, on obstruct me from protecting myself from criminals who have them, end of quote. he survived this terrible owe deal and to make the -- ordeal and to make the terrible statements he made. his words, difficult to write,
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i'm sure, are an important viewpoint that we should consider. this is especially true when the constitutional concerns about this legislation that arrive in light of the heller decision. i continue to believe that this legislation is flawed under the second supreme court second amendment cases. given those flaws, i oppose the legislation. thank you. i yield the floor. >> thank you very much. i'll try to go back and forth here. anybody seeking -- >> mr. chairman. >> senator blumenthal. >> i want to begin by thanking the chairman for his leadership on the illegal traffic -- >> is your microphone on? >> i want to begin by thanking the chairman for his leadership on the illegal trafficking bill and commend him and my fellow co-sponsors and thank senator feinstein for her very kind
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comments but most especially for her leadership on this bill. the plain, simple, blunt fact is that some, if not all of the beautiful children who perished that day in newtown, along with great educators who gave their lives trying to save those children, might well be alive today if this ban had been in effect, a ban on these military-style assault weapons and the high-capacity magazines. as senator feinstein has already told the committee, we heard testimony from captain mark kelly who recounted what happened in tucson that day when the shooter had to change magazine, and christina taylor, the 9-year-old who perished that day from the 13th bullet fired probably would be alive
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if the magazine used by the shooter had been limited to 10 rounds. the same is true in newtown where children were able to escape because the shooter had to change magazines on that day. more than 10 children are alive today because of his need to change magazines. and more would be if his magazine had been limited to 10 rounds, as our legislation would do. so i recognize that there are concerns about it. we've heard them. the overwhelming majority of the american people are in favor of this legislation, and the opponents fail to reflect the concern that goes beyond newtown but certainly newtown is a call to action. it has created a sense of urgency that americans feel and i hope the committee will reflect that sense of urgency
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in approving this legislation. >> mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i'd like to start by saying i agree with senator grassley that sometimes congress tries to impose from washington, d.c., a one-size-fits-all proposed solution that really is best left to localities and states. it's become clear to me, if it wasn't clear before, there are cultural differences in america between those people who've grown up with guns, they know how to use them, they're comfortable with them. they use them safely for hunting or recreation or self-defense. and then there are other people who are scared by guns because they've never been around one. and perhaps they live in an urban area where the only gun they ever see or hear of is one in the hands of someone committing a crime.
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so i think the -- first of all, i would say at an attempt to legislate for the entire united states in a one-size-fits-all proposal is a mistake, and i would say that this is not a ban on weapons. the senator from california, who i have great admiration and respect and affection for, acknowledged that this legislation does nothing to deal with the fact that many of these weapons, which will now be outlawed prospectively, are already in the hands of american citizens, law-abiding american citizens. so is it not a ban. it also is not -- what it does impact are semiautomatic rifles . now, you can call it an assault weapon because it looks for cosmetic purposes it looks scary to people who are not
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familiar with them, but the fact of the matter is these are semiautomatic rifles and this bill does nothing to deal with semiautomatic handguns. i'm not advocating it should. i'm just pointing out that it is not going to achieve the goals that the sponsors -- the response rs believe it will. -- sponsors believe it will. i believe one of the biggest problems we have in the country is the lack of enforcement by the department of justice of current laws. i mean, we all support keeping straw purchasers from buying weapons and directing them to people who can't legally own them or possess them. we all believe that mental health ought to be a focus of our efforts here, and this bill does nothing to deal with that. and we all wonder why the department of justice won't prosecute people who lie on background checks.
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well, i think they told us because they don't deem them sufficient priority to do so, but i guess we ought to ask the question -- why -- what might we be able to do to enforce current laws as opposed to passing new laws? of course, congress and president clinton tried an -- a so-called assault weapons ban. we have hindsight as well as research to examine the lackluster results of that decade-long experiment. according to the department of justice's own study, it was completely ineffectual in reducing murder or violent crime rates. now, some have talked about this 1997 study funded by the justice department and claimed that it reduced gun murders by 6.7%. but the problem with that claim is the study reveals in the
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next sentence how weak the evidence really was. the authors said in the next sentence, however, the evidence is not strong enough for us to conclude there was any meaningful effect, i.e., the effect was different from zero. so are we really going to pass another law that will not -- that will have zero effect and pat ourselves on the back and say we accomplished something wonderful? well, we tried this experiment once and it failed and i think it promotes symbolism over seriousness to repeat that misfake. a real concern of mine is that the efforts to enact this gun ban are distracting congress from working on areas that i believe there is a broad consensus in keeping deranged mad men from buying guns. if there was a common thread in the virginia tech, tucson,
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aurora and newtown massacres, it was the mental illness of the shooter. this bill does nothing to deal with that. the commonality is not the type of guns used. some use pistols, some use rifles and at least two shotguns were found at the scene of these crimes. the common thread was mental illness. no one wants disturbed young men or women, for that matter, to have access to firearms. unfortunately, this legislation focuses not only the pair liss intersection of guns but on cosmetic features of certain firearms. we should refocus our effort to make sure the current background check works to scene out the dangerously mentally ill. now, i'm encouraged by some, including senator graham, have proposed legislation to patch the holes in the background check system that enable the mentally ill to buy guns. that's the type of legislation
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that would bring a consensus and would be a real solution to a real problem. but sadly we seem to be focused on window dressing and risk putting symbolism over substance. >> is there further discussion? >> mr. chairman. hello. >> senator graham. >> thank you. i apologize for being late. we're having a hearing on africom. in armed services. to my colleagues, there seems to be some bipartisanship emerging on certain aspects of the problem. senator flake, begich and pryor, we've come together to try to fix a problem. i think everyone would agree needs to be fixed. there is a young lady who was a paranoid schizophrenic, tragic figure in many ways, and in
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2005 in south carolina she was indicted, arrested and indicted for threatening the life of the president of the united states and members of congress. very disturbed young lady. she plead guilty -- not guilty by reason of insanity. the federal court ordered her into treatment. she went through a pretty labororius process, found incompetent to stand trial, plead guilty by reason of insanity. the court ordered mental health treatment in a confined environment. she was eventually released. she went to south carolina in february of this year and was able to buy a gun. she passed the background check. the system did not record the fact that she'd been adjudicated, mentally incompetent and dangerous to herself and others. she bought a .22 caliber
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pistol. went into the administer's office, pulled the gun out and it did not fire. thank god. she's been arrested and she needs a lot of help. there is an effort in a bipartisan way to make sure adjudications like that get into the background system. there are over 14,000, i've been told, adjudications in south carolina of people a danger to themselves and an incompetent court process that's not entered into the federal system and my state is trying to fix that problem and i hope they're successful in south carolina of entering these cases into the federal background check system. and there are some things that senator schumer is doing and many others that may bear fruit. so keep trying. but as to the assault ban, i know that senator feinstein has been consistent. she's sincere and she has the courage of her convictions and what more could you ask? that is a compliment to her.
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my belief is that the solution being proposed has constitutional problems and doesn't really solve the problem. 2.5% of the murders committed in 2011 involve rifles. there are more people killed with bare hands than that. the assault weapon, when it's misused, is a tragedy. when any gun is misused. i think a lot of us agree that mentally unstable people, felons shouldn't have any gun with any bullet, and sometimes the law-abiding citizen, at least in my view, may need more than 10 bullets given what they may face in the real world as it is. so my objections are that this doesn't really fix the problem and that it didn't work before. it won't work now, but since then there's been a supreme court case called the heller case. it has a three-part test. second amendment protects individual right to possess a firearm for traditionally
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lawful purposes such as self-defense. and to my colleagues, vice president biden, a dear friend of all of us, has this belief that a double barrel shotgun is the best way to defend one's self if there is a lawless environment and mobs come through your house. he told his wife, if you have a problem, go in the back yard and fire two blasts. that's not an unreasonable thing. once you shoot twice you don't have more bullets. you better take shells with you in case they don't run away. when the law and order has broken down, if there is a tornado, earthquake, cyberattack, if the power goes down and the dams break and pollutants are released in the air and the law enforcement is not able to respond and people are lawless -- i have an ar-15. i am not going to do anything illegal with it. i think that is better in that
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environment than a double-barrel shotgun because it has more than two bullets. it is an intimidating gun. i think a house is safer than a double-barrel shotgun. you can disagree. i think what i say makes sense, in my mind is not irrational. common use at the time, there are more than four million ar-15's in circulation. i happen to have one of them. i say that's common use. dangerous and unusual. absolutely an ar-15 misused is dangerous almost like any other gun, but i would not say it's an unusual weapon since so many people have decided to buy the weapon. so i will be voting against the legislation. i didn't think it worked before. i don't think it will work now. i think it misses the mark of what the real problem is, and after heller, i really doubt the constitutionality -- and
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i'm very disappointed that our attorney general couldn't render an opinion on this. so thank you, mr. chairman, for allowing me to speak. >> thank you. senator grassley's returning just about a minute. and we're going to -- he has an amendment. following norm hahl procedure, if there's -- normal procedure, if there is not an amendment here, we will yield at that time to senator grassley, ranking member, to bring up his amendment. senator coons, you wish to say something first. >> while we're waiting for senator grassley to return, i want to add a few comments. mr. chairman, i'm grateful for your leadership and to the members of this committee for their conversation. i was encouraged by some comments i heard earlier in the discussion about s--- s. 54, the stop illegal firearms trafficking act, that led me there is bipartisanship here.
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enforcing laws on the books and coming together in stopping trafficking and it is my hope as these bills are not taken up by this committee but as they move to the floor that we will not stop listening to each other and trying to find ways to focus and to improve them. i've gotten a great deal of input from my home state of delaware on the issues of the bills that are in front of us today. it's been passionate and it's been diverse. and as senator cornyn mentioned, there are clearly differences of culture and region of those who've grown up with and are comfortable with hunting and firearms, whether it's for self-defense and sporting activities and those who are not. i've gotten very strong input from life-long friends, leaders in law enforcement, from pediatricians, from neighbors and from family. and i'll tell you there is a lot of misconceptions about what these bills do. a number of law enforcement leaders in my community express strong opposition to this bill, to s. 150, based on the mistaken impression in a it did not have an exception for law enforcement, for current or
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retired. it does. i think that's an important provision of the bill. i've heard directly from our vice president, from my governor and from senator feinstein, whom i respect deeply for her commitment to doing everything we possibly can to reduce the availability of weapons that can be used to kill and had a harm. i think we have a number of important pieces of legislation here that will strengthen background checks that will fight gun trafficking. i think this is just one more in what needs to be a broad and searching effort to find the right balance and to find the right solution. and so, although i think none of these bills is perfect, all of them deserve some further consideration. we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. as someone who has known parents who lost children, neighbors who've lost family members in gun violence, i intend to vote for this bill in this committee today. thank you. >> senator grassley. the comment was made about support from newtown and i'd
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like to put a number of testimonials that have come in indicating support from newtown. i'd also like to put in the statement from the united states attorney that testified that in a 2004 follow-up report to the national institute of justice, the same researchers concluded that the use in crimes of assault weapons subject to the 1994 ban declined by more than 2/3 in the first nine years the ban was in effect. and also a statement from professionor tribe, if -- professor tribe, if i may. >> without objection, that will be part of the record. senator, hold just a moment unless you want to yield to senator lee. >> let's yield to senator lee. >> ok. senator lee. and for scheduling purposes, you might -- there is a
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classified matter that is going to require senator grassley and i and a couple other members of the senate to be at and as a result we will recess at 11:45 subject to the call of the chair which may bring us back today or tomorrow. we'll see. but just so you know. >> i thank you, mr. chairman. just want to make a brief statement about some concerns i have about this legislation. all of us are devastated by the recent acts of violence, particularly mass violence, and every one of us would choose if we could to find any way we can to reduce incidents of violence like those. i am concerned about this legislation for a couple of reasons. number one, i would worry about giving the american people the false impression that we can fix this problem through federal legislation, especially
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in light of our experience with past similar measures that have proven unsuccessful in bringing an end to this type of violence or even bringing about any significant statistically reduction in it. secondly, and in some ways even more importantly, we have to remember the interest of the law-abiding. there are some people in this country that are probably not going to comply with a lot of laws, no matter what they say. there's another group of people in this country that will typically abide by the law regardless of what the law says. fortunately, we in america are surrounded by people, the majority of whom fit into the latter category. it's those people that i think we need to look out for from time to time. in light of those people, the supreme court of the united states has established the standard in the heller case pursuant to which it said people have a second amendment right to possess a firearm that is typically possessed by law-abiding people for lawful
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purposes. there are, as i understand it, about four million ar-15's in this country. there are even more other weapons that would likewise fall into a ban like this one. to my knowledge, the overwhelming majority of those weapons are possessed by law-abiding people and they are used for law-abiding purposes, hunting, target practice, self-defense and the like. i have yet to be convinced that the proponents of this legislation have met their heavy burden of establishing that this law would do more harm than good and that the -- any good it might do would offset these interests of these law-abiding citizens. for these reasons i can't support this legislation. >> thank you. i know that senator grassley wants me to finish this part of the agenda before we have to break and, senator grassley, you have an amendment. >> i do. it's alb-13190, requiring the attorney general to submit an
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annual report to congress dealing a number of statistics regarding the department's prosecution of violence -- violation of federal firearms law. the amendment would require the attorney general to provide information related to cases presented to the department from prosecution, federal, state and local, for violation of gun laws. it also requires information on cases where the department failed to file charges based upon these referrals. it requires information why cases were not charged, whether indictments are pending, whether plea agreements were entered, whether the defendant plead guilty or was found guilty and what -- pled guilty or was found guilty and what charges. this report is necessary, so i want to emphasize, necessary given the concern we heard in all three hearings about the lack of prosecutions under the
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current laws. example, it was discussed at the subcommittee hearing over 76,000 individuals were denied firearms under background checks and yet only 62 were prosecuted. this argument, the argument we heard from the department was that nearly impossible to prosecute these individuals because penalties are too low and violations too hard to prove. i think this is too simple of an argument, but understand some of the concerns. however, even if we do pass any of the bills on the markup agenda today and it becomes law, we need to ensure they are enforced. if we do not obtain detailed information about how the department enforces or fails to enforce, we know -- won't know if new legislation works. so this is a necessary step to ensure that changes in federal
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laws have a desired impact. now i understand the justice department strongly opposes. their concern is it sbrudes into the prosecutorial decisionmaking. and it burdens them with reports that detract from prosecution -- prosecuting criminals. these are arguments that we hear all the time from the department and many other agencies that don't want congress overseeing them. of course i don't buy it and members shouldn't simply take their word for it. reports like this wouldn't be necessary if the department answered our letters and responded to our questions about oversight and particularly if they did it at hearings. just as an example, senator whitehouse and i pointed out to the attorney general yesterday that we still await answers to questions from the last oversight hearing we had with the attorney general in june of
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last year. with a response time like that, we may never know how the department's working. an annual report will require the department to provide us data regularly and likely faster than if we ask the attorney general himself. so i urge my colleagues to support this amendment so we can collect data. we need to ensure the department prosecute the laws on the books. i'd like to have a roll call vote please. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. this amendment is a big broad amendment. it seeks to determine whether a decision has been made to charge an individual with a firearm's violations. in cases where no charge was made. a description of why no charge was filed. whether an indictment, information or other charge has been brought against any person. whether in any case that's charged, whether a firearm violation is alleged. whether in any case where a
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firearms violation is alleged, a plea agreement has been entered into, and whether any blea agreement resulted in a firearms conviction. it also includes in any case where there is no firearms conviction resulted, identityification of the charges for which the -- identification of the charges for which the individual did plead guilty. in any case not ledging a violation of firearm laws, the nature of the other charges brought and the result of any trial. now, having said that, i think the concern of this is a good thing and i think we -- i think the kernal of this is a good thing and i think we can get this established. there are lots of these violations, some 70,000. and it's an overwhelming task. i'd offer, senator, and, you know, i think my word, i hope you think my word means something, to work with you and try to work down to that kernal
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so we get something that's doable. senator graham had this discussion. i understand the point. i think we should have something. this is huge and broad, and i think that's justice -- why the justice opposes it. >> the senator asked for a roll call vote. senator durbin. >> i want to speak. in the southerly district of illinois, based in the st. clair county area, the u.s. attorney steve wigginton, is faced with a situation that's troubling. my hometown, where i was born, east st. louis, illinois, has a violent crime rate and murder rate 18 times the national average. 18 times the national average. the carnage that goes on in that small town with the misuse of firearms is incredible. and they are doing everything they can to deal with it. because of budget cutbacks that we have imposed in congress,
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it's now reached the point where he cannot fill vacancies when u.s. attorneys retire or resign. what they do is solicit those who are willing to volunteer without any pay to serve as an assistant u.s. attorney in the southern district of illinois and some are coming forward to do it. it's an indication of the workload they face and the desperate situation they're in to try to take control of what is a violent, terrible thing, menacing a lot of innocent people. senator grassley, this is an incredible amount of paperwork which you are asking for. for every possible case, they are required to fill vow luminous paperwork -- fill volume-- volumious paperwork. they will be filing forms with the department of justice. i think we know what the problem is here. this is a paperwork offense under the current law. we want to make it a serious
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offense. that's why some of the changes we're considering today will make a difference. i really think senator feinstein is right. let's get down to the root problem of the, regular reporting, but please don't impose this paperwork requirement on many offices that are struggling to survive. >> i disagree with you. there is such a big gap between prosecution and violation of the laws. we got to know why these are not being prosecuted. and if they don't prosecute them, they ought to be telling us why they don't prosecute them. i think this report answers those questions and will help fill the gap and i'll bet we'll get more prosecution. >> mr. chairman. >> roll call. >> i'm actually going to -- >> i don't want to cut anybody off. i know we will be recessing -- >> i'll put it on the record later. >> i would like to get this bill finished before we do. does the senator wish to -- >> i'll put it on the record later if you're concerned about fine.
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>> roll call vote. >> ms. feinstein? >> no. >> mr. durbin, mr. whitewhite house, ms. klobuchar, mr. franken. >> no. >> mr. coons. >> no. >> mr. blumenthal? >> no. >> ms. hirono. >> no. >> mr. grassley. >> aye. >> mr. hatch. >> aye. >> mr. sessions. >> aye. >> mr. graham. >> aye per proxy. >> aye. >> mr. lee. >> aye. >> mr. cruz. >> aye. >> mr. flake. >> aye by proxy. >> mr. chairman. >> no. >> can i offer another amendment? >> i'll work with you. >> nine yeas, nine nays. >> then the amendment fails. >> senator feinstein does work with me and with other people of the committee and i hope we
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can work out something to accomplish some of the goals i want to accomplish. this is my last amendment. i don't -- do we have -- you have an amendment. i'll go through mine very fast. i hope we can vote on this bill today and get this behind us. this is amendment alb-13193, requiring the director of n.i.j. to conduct a study to examine the impact of violent adult theme video games may have on mass shootings. this amendment is not about blaming an industry for the horrific acts of mass shooters. it simply examines the role that violent games may play in recent mass shootings. according to media reports, the perpetrators of mass shooting in aurora, newtown, were both avid players of violent video games. the norway mass shooter who killed 77 went so far as to
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describe in his manifesto how he utilized video games to train for his attack. this strubbling given the number of these games that are sold annually in the united states and around the world. our video game -- one video game called "call of duty: modern war fwear 2," 22 million copies sold worldwide where the player of the game serves as an undercover operative. in his role, the player guides the player as part of a terror attack at a russian airport. the player takes part as a team shooter, guns down innocent civilians waiting in an airport . well, my amendment is alb-13141.
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i ask consent to place these pictures in the record that we have here. and i'm going to put the rest of the statement in the record. i think everybody knows what i'm talking about, and i know that senator coons has an amendment to my amendment or some sort of an amendment. i ask you to support his amendment as well. >> senator coons. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to offer a second-degree amendment. i believe what we're asking for is 13141, calling for a study specifically focused on violent video games. and my second-degree amendment focuses on the fact that i believe there is a very wide range of possible causes of mass casualty incidents. i want to specifically amend my second-degree amendment as has been circulated at 13 so that it specifically says depictions of violence in the video game, media and entertainment industries. so it's clear i recognize the
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desirblete of considering violent -- desire act of considering violent video games. it lists a whole series of factors for this n.i.j. study, factors that is childhood neglect, bullying which has been cited by my colleagues, availability of mental health services and others. i will not take the time to go through them all. >> my understanding is the senator will accept your second degree? >> yes. >> without objection, the senator from iowa's amendment is amended with the amendment of the senator from delaware. those in favor of the amendment, as amended, signify by saying aye. opposed. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. are there further amendments? >> senator cornyn i think has our last amendment. >> senator cornyn. >> well, actually i have several amendments but i want to draw my colleagues' attention to senator
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feinstein's -- the exception in her legislation for gun ban for certain classes of americans, namely the retired law enforcement officers. i think any exception to the ban is remarkable concession by the authors and co-sponsors of the bill. that's because bills' sponsors have long declared that so-called assault weapons are purely offensive in nature as in designed for killing. hence the name assault weapon. but in fact i believe this exception concedes that there are at least some americans who should be allowed to possess these weapons for purposes of defending themselves, their families and their communities. so i would ask my colleagues, why should this exception be limited only to retired law enforcement officers? is it because we believe they have some special competency and training to use these weapons to defend themselves and others, or is it because we think they and their families
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are worthy of special protection? i want to be clear. i think every law-abiding american has a right to choose how best to defend themselves and their families. that's why i strongly oppose this legislation. i wholeheartedly agree with the authors and the sponsors of this legislation that the weapons this bill would ban can and are used lawfully for self-and family defense. so the purpose of the amendments, and i have a number of them that i will offer, is to highlight the dangers of a blanket ban and illustrate why we shouldn't prevent law-abiding citizens from owning self-defense weapons. if you don't believe that the guns banned by this bill can be used lawfully for self-defense, then you should be offering an amendment to strike the exception for retired law enforcement. but of course i don't expect that. >> does the senator have an amendment he wishes to call up? >> i would like to call up 13115. >> 13115 is before us.
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>> in amendment, mr. chairman, would allow members of the armed forces and veterans to obtain and possess the self-defense weapons prohibited by this legislation. members and veterans of the armed forces are the most highly trained and qualified individuals to own these weapons for self-defense purposes. we should think long and hard before disarming these heroes, preventing them from protecting their families and their communities. >> senator feinstein. >> if i understand this, this adds an exemption of retired military. as i understand our bill, no issue has arows in this regard during the -- arose in the regard during the 10 years the ban was in effect and what we
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did in the other bill was exempt possession by the united states or a department or agency of the united states. so that included active military. the problem with expanding this is that, you know, with the advent of ptsd, which i think is a new phenomenon as a product of the iraq war, it's not clear how the seller or transfer of a firearm covered by this bill would verify that an individual was a member or veteran and there was no impairment of that individual with respect to having a weapon like this. so, you know, i would be happy to sit down with you again and
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see if we can work something out. i think we have to -- if you're going to do this, find a way that veterans who are incapacitated for one reason or another mentally, don't have access to this kind of weapon. >> i would suggest this may be one that should be worked on. as the senator from california knows, i have some problems with her overall legislation but i'm going to vote for it to get the matter out so it's just not those of us in this room will get a chance to talk about it or act on it but the whole senate, all 100 of us. so on the amendment, the clerk will call the roll. >> mr. chairman, ptsd suffers are already prohibited by law. and i think it's a mistake to
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paint so broadly as to say any active duty military or veterans can't use these kinds of weapons or any other lawful weapons for self-defense. and certainly i wouldn't want to suggest that we think the people who served in the military all suffer from some debilitating illness that would prohibit them from being able to -- >> that suggestion has not been made by anybody on either side of the aisle here. and the clerk will call the roll. >> mrs. feinstein. >> no. >> mr. shummer? >> no. >> mr. durbin. >> no. >> mr. whitehouse. >> no. >> mr. klobuchar. >> no. >> mr. franken. >> no. >> mr. coons. >> yes. >> ms. hirono. mr. grassley. >> aye. >> mr. hatch. >> aye. >> mr. sessions. >> aye by proxy. >> mr. cornyn. >> aye. >> mr. lee.
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>> aye. >> mr. cruz. >> aye. >> mr. flake. >> aye. >> mr. chairman. >> no. >> mr. chairman, nine yeas, nine nays. senator grassley. >> can i ask, is it going to be possible to get this done before the chairman and i go for a briefing, like how many more -- >> don't believe so. i don't know about your schedule, but i have a number of other amendments. so i'd be happy to -- >> in that case, we will -- we're not going to be able to finish, and because of the -- senator grassley or senator fine tine and i are able to talk about the nature of this briefing, so we will -- we will recess subject to the call of the chair, but -- and we will get this bill completed. i appreciate the honesty of the
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senator from texas' answers. we stand recess subject to the call. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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>> well, the senate judiciary committee isn't finished its work. they did recess subject to the call of the chair after approving federal penalties for illegally trafficking guns. it's the first vote in congress to curb firearms since december's shootings at a connecticut elementary school. the bill is sponsored by the committee chairman, patrick leahy. it would create penalties up to 25 years in prison people who buy guns for others use them in a crime. the vote in the committee was 11-7. senator chuck grassley of iowa, the only republican to support it. the panel debated other bills.
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one requiring federal background checks for nearly all purchases, banning high capacity and magazines and boosting aid for school safety programs. again, the committee has recessed subject to the call of the chair. >> senator dianne feinstein speaking to reporters as she leaves the committee room. again, the judiciary committee not finished their work. meanwhile, the discussion is on the budget and the deficit at the white house. president obama is inviting the top house budget writers to the white house for lunch today. the lunch date with budget committee chairman paul ryan and the ranking democrat chris van hollen follows his dinner last night with a dozen of
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republican senators. trying to build support among rank and file republicans for starting talks on a long-term deficit reduction deal. in new york this morning, the u.n. security council has voted unanimously for new sanctions against north korea for its latest nuclear test. the resolution was drafted by north korea's closest ally, china, and the united states. minority korea has repeatedly violated security council resolutions. here's a look at the security council meeting from this morning.
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[speaking foreign language] >> the agenda is adopted. under rule 37 of the council's provision of rules of procedure, i invite the representatives of belgium, canada, denmark, italy, japan and the philippines to participate in this meeting. if so desired. the security council will now begin its consideration of item 2 of the agenda. members of the council also have before them document 2013 stroke 136, the text of a draft resolution submitted by
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australia, belgium, canada, denmark, italy, france, italy, japan, morocco, the philippines, the republic of korea, rwanda, toeingo, the united kingdom of great britain and northern ireland and the united states of america. it is my understanding that the council is ready to proceed to the vote on the draft resolution before us. i shall put the draft resolution to the vote now. will those in favor of the draft resolution contained in document s stroke 2013 stroke 136 please raise their hand?
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the result of the voting is as follows -- the draft resolution received 15 votes in favor. the draft resolution has been adopted unanimously. resolution 2094 of 2013. the security council has not concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda. the meeting is adjourned. >> and again the u.n. security council voting this morning unanimously for new sanctions against north korea for its most recent nuclear test. the new sanctions aimed at making it more difficult for north korea to finance and obtain materials for its weapons program. up next we'll take you to the briefing with reporters that happened after the security council meeting this morning. we'll show you as much as we can until the house gavels in for its pro forma session at noon eastern.
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>> good morning, everyone. today the security council unanimously adopted resolution 2094, strongly condemning north korea's highly provocative february 12 nuclear test and imposing significant new sanctions under chapter 7 of the u.n. charter. the strength, severity of these sanctions will raise the cost to north korea of its illicit
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nuclear program and further constrain its ability to finance and source materials and technology for its ballistic missile, conventional and nuclear weapons program. first, resolution 2094 imposes tough new financial sanctions. when north korea tries to move money to pay for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, countries must now block those transfers even if the money is being carried in suitcases full of bulk cash. likewise, incinerator korean banks will -- north korean banks will find it much harder to launder money for the program. the resolution also imposes new travel restrictions. if, for example, a north korean agent is caught making arms
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deals or selling nuclear technology, countries will be required to expel that agent. countries must also now prevent the travel of people working for designated companies involved in the nuclear and missile programs. states will now have new authorities to inspect cargo and stop north korean arms smuggling and proliferation. if a country has cargo on its territory that might be carrying prohibitive items like conventional arms or nuclear or ballistic materials, this resolution requires that the cargo be inspected. it will also make it harder for north korean vessels to offload such prohibitive cargo if a ship refuses inspection on the high seas. thus forcing it to return to its port of origin.
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and airplanes carrying smuggled items can find themselves grounded. this resolution will also counter north korean efforts to abuse diplomatic privileges to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile activities. it will now be much harder for such diplomats to procure technology or divert funds to the nuclear program without being detected and expelled. resolution 2094 further bans the transfer to and from north korea of specific ballistic missile, nuclear and chemical weapons-related technologies. it lists new prohibited items and calls on states to block any item at all that could contribute to these activities. it names additional north koreans and north korean
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companies whose assets will be frozen and those individuals will also be subject to a travel ban. this resolution lists a number of luxury goods that cannot be sold to north korea. as a result, north korea's ruling elite who have been living large while impoverishing their people will pay a direct price for this nuclear test. a detailed fact sheet outlining all key measures in u.n. resolution 2094 can be found on the u.s. mission website, www.usun.state.gov. taken together, these sanctions will bite and bite hard. they increase north korea's isolation and raise the cost to north korea's leaders of defying the international
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community. the entire world stands united in our commitment to the denuclearization of the korean peninsula, and in our demand that north korea comply with its international obligations. if it does not, then the security council committed today in this resolution to take further significant measures, if there is another nuclear test or missile launch. we regret that north korea has again chosen the path of prove -- provocation instead of the path of peace. far from achieving its stated goal of becoming a strong and prosperous nation, north korea has instead again opted to further impoverish its people and increase its isolation. we hope instead that north korea will heed president
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obama's call to choose the path of peace and come into compliance with its international obligation. i'm happy to take a couple of questions. >> thank you, ambassador. i understand these measures are very tough, but when there is no penalty for a country, for member countries, if they don't comply, comply with this sanction, there's no obligation but no penalty. how would you make sure that it's going to be implemented? >> well, this strengthens the -- not only the sanctions itself, this resolution does, but also the enforcement mechanisms that are available through the council through the sanction committee and the panel of experts. as in other sanction resolutions, including iran, there are opportunities for those that are in violation to be held accountable. and we are of the view, of course, that every member state
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is legally obliged to fulfill to the letter the terms of this resolution and the prior resolutions with respect to north korea and every other binding sanctions regime and we and our partners having unanimously passed this resolution are committed together to ensuring its effective implementation. >> hello, madam ambassador. this is a strong resolution. i was wondering if i could ask you whether you think, really think this resolution can break the repeated pattern of sanction -- sanction provocation and what do you think is needed to break this pattern, if any, apart from implementation, the right implementation?
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>> the choice and the answer to your question lies, of course, with the decisions that the north korean leadership make. we have been very clear as an international community and as a security council that we are united in demanding that north korea comply with its international obligations or face increased pressure and isolation. as you can see with each successive provocation, that pressure is indeed increasing and substantially so. but the aim that we share is the denuclearization of the korean peninsula. and to accomplish that through dialogue. so should north korea finally wisely make the decision in the interest of its own people and the interest of regional peace and security and its own security to in fact heed the opportunity to choose the path of peace and to take concrete steps to dismantle its nuclear program coming into compliance with its international obligations, then there is an opportunity for north korea's
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fate and future and that of its people to be much brighter. >> all of that later in our program schedule. again, the united nations voted unanimously for new sanctions against north korea with regard to its latest nuclear test. the u.s. house gavels in momentarily. a pro forma only. they're back for legislative business next week. now live to the house floor here on c-span.
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the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's rooms, washington, d.c., march 7, 2013. i hereby appoint the honorable blake farenthold to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, john a. boehner, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: the prayer today will be offered by the guest chaplain, the reverend general hinrich of the american university here in washington, d.c.
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the chaplain: the philosopher martin buber states the primary aspiration of all history is a genuine community of human beings. lord, we know that you desire the best for us and that this consists in our being the genuine human beings you meant us to be. this is and always has been the heart of our nation. may you bless this congress with the wisdom, prudence, and understanding needed for generating the laws, ideals, and creativity to fulfill your heart felt desires for us, amen. the speaker pro tempore: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approve thsmed echair will lead us in the pledge of allegiance.
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i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, sir, pursuant to section 4d of house resolution 5, 113th congress, section 1k2 of house resolution 895, 110th congress, i transmit to you notification that porter j. goss, david scags, yvonne burke, jay egan, karen english, alison howard, mike barnes, omar , kelly gruington, mary flanagan, scot gast, and nate wright each have signed an agreement not to be a candidate for the office of senator or
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representative in or delegate or resident commissioner to the congress for the purposes of the federal election campaign act of 1971 until at least three years after he or she is no longer a member of the board or staff of the office of congressional ethics. copies of the signed adwreements shall be retained by the office of the clerk as part of the records of the house. with best wishes, i am, signed, sincerely, karen l. haas. the speaker pro tempore: without objection the clerk is directed to make the change in the engrossment of house concurrent resolution 20 that has been placed at the desk. the clerk will report the change. the clerk: strike mohammed each place it appears and insert in each instance muhammad.
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the speaker pro tempore: without objection the house will stand >> the house back next week for legislative work after yesterday passing the continuing resolution, funding the federal government beyond march 27 through the end of the fiscal year. meanwhile, over in the senate, the business on the floor of the senate is the nomination of john brennan to be the director of the c.i.a. majority leader reid said this morning in his opening remarks that his hope he can get an agreement to have the brennan vote today. follow the senate on our companion network, c-span2. we got a preview of today in the senate and also some of the meetings between the president and congressional republicans on the budget and deficit reduction from this morning's "washington journal." host: ed o'keefe is congressional reporter. mr. owe keep, what is the status on the john -- mr. o'keefe, what is the status of the john brennan confirmation?
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guest: this filibuster happened in part because harry reid had not filed clowe chur on the pick -- cloture on the pick and it didn't happen before rand paul got on the floor and began his 12-hour filibuster. we think it will move to a final vote. . it does appear, though we might have to do a count, that he had the 60 votes necessary but when mitch mcconnel took to the floor after 11:00 last night and said he didn't think that republicans should vote for cloture nor for the nomination itself, one wonders now whether there will be at least five republicans voting with the 55 democrats to approve him. there are even some democrats who could conceivably part ways, but one of those ron white said when he participated in the rand
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paul filibuster, said that though he had concerns he planned to vote for him. >> can you predict a schedule for us of events in the senate? >> well, we'll see cloture filed at some point. we'll see if the republicans allow for a vote today or delay until perhaps tomorrow morning or just kick it into next week. the senate is scheduled, or expected to leave at some point today if not early tomorrow morning. it's a matter of if the democrats want to try to get one done today or whether they wait. i suspect now, republicans, hoping to take advantage a little more of what went on late into the night, might try to make political hay of this until at least the weekend and the lay a vote until tuesday at the earlier -- earliest. hypoed o'keefe, another issue in congress, obama picks up the tab at dinner with the g.o.p. who did he have dinner with last night? goip he had dinner work i started to lose count, there were so many of them there, john
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mccain, lindsay graham, richard berg, john holdman, you see tom coburn, ron johnson of wisconsin, this is a collection of people that many did not expect to ever have a chance to really sit with the president but they all went over to the jefferson hotel, a very nice establishment just a few blocks over from the white house and had a -- what we're told, the early reports, was a productive din . there are reports the president has invited house budget committee chairman paul ryan to the white house to continue outreach to the republicans. apparently a new, renewed eagerness in the white house to get some kind of grander compromising or or -- orchestrated and perhaps approved late they are year regarding fiscal matters, regarding entitlement reform, tax reform, maybe changes to sequestration and making sure
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that the budget act gets passed in the coming months. >> and one other congressional issue, the house passed a continuing resolution last night, or yesterday. guest: they did. that now comes to the senate and it's expected that beginning next week they'll start to mark that up. there are some significant concerns among senate democrats of some things in the house version of the c.r. but it is expected that they will get worked out so that congress can leave town on friday, march 22, to begin a two-week easter recess. the current spending resolution runs out on wednesday, the 27th of march, but there's no reason to believe at this point at least that they would cut into that easter recess. what will be of concern as the senate proceeds is whether they begin making significant prommatic and overall cost changes to what the house passed. is it minor and insignificant? we expect that it will get back to the house. but as democrats try to make wholesale changes, we could be
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setting ourselves up for a nail baiter -- nail biter. >> ed o'keefe, we appreciate theup date on congressional issues. >> in addition to the dinner last night with republican senators, the president inviting the top house budget writers to the white house for lunch today. chris van hollen, the ranking democrat, and the chairman of the budget committee paul ryan, will be joining the president for lunch at the white house to talk about the budget and deficit reduction. also this afternoon at the white house, the president will sign the violence against women act at 1:55 eastern. we'll have live coverage of that here on c-span. then a bit later on this afternoon, back to capitol hill, a joint hearing between the homeland security committees, they'll hear from janet napolitano on cybersecurity threats, in particular the executive order the president signed back in february. that hearing live here after 2:30 on c-span.
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>> she's been read since 1840 when her grandson published an edition of her letters. she was a bestseller through the 19th century, people knew her. she's always been famous. >> a conversation with historians about abigail adams is now available on the website, c-span.org/firstladies. >> panels and discussions from this year's tucson festival of books this weekend on book tv. at 4:30, on what animals can teach us about health and healing. and sunday, starting live at 1:00 p.m. eastern, a talk on
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afghanistan. panels and authors from the tucson festival of books, part of book tv, live this weekend on c-span2. >> the annual u.s.-israel policy conference known as aipac was this week in the nation's capital. next up, a hearing with senators, this is 20 minutes. >> good morning, it is great to be with you. we have three distinguished guests here this morning. to my left here a man who needs no introduction to this audience, a member of the armed services committee, an american hero, senator john mccain.
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[applause] >> they're excited about john. >> and next to senator john mccain, a man who was inside israel's military establishment for 40 years, his most recent position was head of military intelligence for the i.d.f., he participated in two nonproliveuation operations on behalf of israel, the fest of which was as a pilot, a young pilot, in 1981, he was one of the pilots in the israeli operation into osirac and iraq. general. [applause] and a distinguished member of the u.s. senate armed services committee a newer member to the
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senate but has played a key role in helping to combat anti-israel sentiment at the united nations in a number of roles through the senate, please help me welcome senator kirsten jill brand. >> thank you. -- gillibrang. >> thank you. >> i want to jump right into the discussion with a short period of time and a lot of territory to cover, senator mccain, i want to start with you. iran is on everybody's mind. you have been working and thinking about the issue of iran for a very long time, long before it was on many people's radar screens. in short, what can the united states and israel do working together to deal with iran and prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability? >> thank you, dan. thank you all for the very warm welcome. may i say what a great honor it is to be with the general who, he and i once flew the same type
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of airplane they have difference is he used to shoot people down and i got shot down. and i also want to tell you that i've watched a number of senators come to the united states senate, senator from new york has done a magnificent job in defense of the state of israel and defense of freedom and we recently had an encouldn'ter with the president of egypt over some of the remark he is had previously made and i can assure you he will not forget the senator from new york from that encounter. very proud of her. what's happening in iran, obviously, the centrifuges are spinning. the latest effort at conciliation and some kind of agreement with the iranians have failed. it's very clear that they are on the path to having a nuclear
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weapon. i don't think it's a question of whether, it's obviously a question of when. we have one of the most foremost experts, my dear, my hero, ehud barack, who is very well aware on this issue. look, the iranians are watching what happened in korea, north korea. they just set off another nuclear device. we made concession after concession under both bush and obama administrations and it turned into failure. i know we have a short amount of time. i think that this latest offer on the part of the united states and our allies was doomed to failure and if -- in tehran i think it's viewed as a weakness because of additional concessions. but it is vitally important that in tehran they understand that the united states, that there is
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no space between the united states and israel, that there is no space between the two countries, and i'm going to give you a little straight talk they believe in tehran that there is space between the two countries. if there's one thing i hope the president's re-election would motivate him to work more closely with the israel government and take concerted action if that action is necessary. if it is necessary. thank you. >> senator jill brand -- senator gillibrand, let me pick up on that. it's true there can be no daylight between the u.s. and the rest of the worldcoming to -- when it comes to iran. what can the u.s. congress and the administration do to reduce this perception that israel and america are at it alone? >> well, as a member of congress, we have used that platform as a way to not only
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show our commitment to israel but make the statement that our fundamental securities are intertwined, our national security is intertwined with israel's. so, for example, we have a resolution from last week that basically says we will stand by israel both economically and militarily with regard to iran. when the u.n. makes statements and -- when the u.n. makes statements, particularly at the human rights counsel, we have -- council, we have to stand up to them. whether it means we're standing against durbin two or durbin three, we lead those letters whether it's standing up for israel's right to not only prevent the flotilla from crossing but have the duty to do so. those statements have to be made immediately by american leaders. i agree with senator mccain, there should be no sunlight and we have to continue to show we are hand in hand as allies and as friends, as fundamentally committed to israel's security and the united states' national security.
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[applause] >> general, i mentioned you were involved with two nonproliferation activities. uni cited pause you vited -- cited it. one you have not personally cited but i can. according to international reports you were head of military intelligence involved with the israeli operation dealing with the syrian nuclear reactor in 2007. based on -- [applause] based on those two experiences and now what the west will be dealing with with a possible third nonproliferation operation what can the u.s. and israel do together? you've heard from senators mccain and gillibrand from the u.s. perspective, what about from the israeli perspective? how to you see it day-to-day? >> i think we all share the same data, the same intelligence. we are on the same page when it comes to the problem and we are
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on the same page on the goal, the tra tiegic goal to prevent -- the strategic goal to pretcht iran from being nuclear. but between the floor and the ceiling of the problem, there are doors and windows that we are not in the same place. we should be much closer on how to prevent iran from being nuclear. because 2012 passed with giving more time for negotiations, for functions, for reaching an agroment, for diplomacy. and the time is running out in 2013. what makes us different on iran when it comes to policy, it's different trauma, maybe not enough trust. we have to develop that even though we come with different traumas, you know, we are the
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israelis coming with the holocaust, we are six million israelis listening to ahmadinejad calling to the anilings of israel, we take it very seriously. very seriously. you came with another trauma, the name of iraq. you don't want, and justly so, to go to another war. but this is not a war. this is a one-night operation and we should speak about it. >> senator mccain, it's hard to consider what is going on vis-a-vis iran in isolation. the whole region is in turmoil. a former israeli diplomat said to me that what israel is doing right now, when there's talk about israel making territorial con kegses -- concessions in terms of a peace agreement, israel is being asked to pitch a tebt in the middle of a hurricane. if you look what's happened in egypt and in georgia, 27% of the
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parliament elected islamists. you look at what happened in syria and lebanon. you recently returned from egypt and spent time with president mor see. this is one of the cornerstones of israeli security, that relationship with egypt. based on what you've seen, how does israel consider the range of issues it is facing. >> i have not seen the mideast in a more dangerous situation in my lifetime. in the cold war it was very dangerous but it was clear what the challenges were. we are seing the mideast in particular, but the world, in the midst of change. i believe that syria is a national and international shame that we have allowed assad to massacre, 70,000, 80,000 people and we have not done anything about it. it's an unfair fight. the russians and iranians are
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sending weapons, iranian revolutionary guard are on the ground. 80,000 people at least have been massacred. lebanon and jordan are in great danger of being destabilized and the united states watches. humanitarian aid doesn't get it. it's interesting to go to a refugee camp and meet the leads of the refugee camp and the woman says, senator mccain, these young children you see through this camp, they will take revenge on those who refuse to help them. jihaddists are flowing into syria in large numbers. they are the fighters. the arms and equipment you're hearing about, a lot of that is going to the wrong people from gulf states. it is a situation which destabilizes lebanon, destabilizes jordan and eventually poses a threat to the very existence of the state of israel and it's time the united states established a no-fly zone, provided arms and equipment to those fighting for
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freedom and it's time to israel help them in whatever way possible that we can. >> senator gillibrand, i mentioned jordan -- >> we need members of the national security team who are pro israel, not anti-israel. >> senator gillibrand, i mentioned jordan you spent some time looking to jordan, if you go east there is concern based on the electoral developments i cited and about the increasingly sensitive, the monarchy there is wobbly. how should we and israel think about this important ally of the united states and one of two countries in the region that has a real peace agreement with israel? >> we need allies in the region and it is destabilizing. the muslim brotherhood is rising in power and as the fighters come across you have the risk of
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militancy in jordan. you have a syrian refugee population of 400,000 in jordan, a huge financial strain on an already wavering economy. jordan doesn't have a lot of natural resources. most of their economy is driven by government. the u.s. being able to provide aid to jordan allow them to get resources from the i.m.f. is essential. our role with regard to jordan, we have to continue to help them keep some measure of calm and be able to help them transition to this difficult time. i think our role with regard to helping syrian refugees is significant. we're going to have to be a friend and ally. it is being destabilized right now. i think as senator mccain said, the whole region is in flux. it's very difficult. egypt, when we visited with president mor see, senator mccain was very clear, as was the delegation, that they have to stop the flow of these weapons through the sinai into fwa sa. so last week's news that we are now going to stop the tunnels
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and begin to flood the tunnels is helpful but we have to draw morrissey closer to us. that's why secretary kerry's trip over there and saying we'll give you $250 million is a step in the right direction. they need help from i.m.f. and without a stable economy there, you'll see a slide toward regimes and leadership that won't be pro u.s. general yatlin, take us inside israeli decision making. the israelis, it's our understanding -- they view iran 's possibility of get agnew clear weapon as the biggest concern but you talk about all these other countries, egypt, jordan, syria, even iraq, increased instability in iraq now that u.s. forces are gone, so israeli policymakers and strategists look at the map and how do they rank and prioritize
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which issue they've got to deal with tomorrow? >> when i have -- i was a fighter pilot, i used to have a couple of rules, one, never panic, second never be in euphoria, this is too dangerous. be slightly paranoid and that's what we are. by the way, senator mccain saved me from prison because we flew the same airplane, a-4, very tiny cockpit. when you eject you break your two legs. soifs in flight school. we knew already that the senator is in prison in vietnam and he broke his two legs. and when i was over egypt in 1973, he immediately came to my mind and i say, i am not going to eject. maybe i will crash but i cannot go back to the safe side.
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>> this is what we call the shared cooperation, shared intelligence between america and israel. aipac at its best. >> in this mideast which is unstable, very dangerous, the only ally of israel you can really count on, the only ally, is the united states that you can really count on, is israel. it's the only placeful that after you come and give help and material and equipment, they really love you. they don't hate you. so israel is another aircraft carrier. i'm quite concerned that another aircraft carrier going back from where it should be to make the military option credible. even though not preferable but must be credible to make sure that the other options will work.
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israel is every day on the ground there is a cooperation between the two militaries, the two intelligence, there is ongoing dialogue. ongoing dialogue between the two defense establishment, to see how we cope with the same threat because nonproliferation in iran is not only an israeli issue. it's a u.s. national interest issue. vital national interest issue. and the terrorism you see all over is an american national security issue. and the stability in the mideast and the -- even though senator lieberman told me lately that the fact that israel and the united states discovered natural gas and oil is proof that there is an almighty and he is
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listening to our prayers. however, however, you cannot really -- the mideast is very important, maybe there is oil but the price of oil is happening there. so it's a very important area to pollster and if we do it together if we cope together with the nuclearization of iran, with the terrorism, with what will emerge in the arab spring, so-called arab spring, i think the two countries will be better off. >> we are running out of time. i want to move to just the closing part of this discussion. i want to ask each of you, starting with senator gillibrand this room of people this amazing collection of american citizens, citizen activists, who are going to engage their representatives in congress, this week, during this policy conference, tomorrow, and make the case for the u.s.-israel relationship and
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why it is a centerpiece of america's security and stability and position in the world, what is your message to this group of dynamic and enjer -- energetic activists as they go to make their case? how can they make it most effectively? >> first, i want to say thank you. it makes such a difference that you come to washington and talk to your legislators and talk to congresspeople and senators about what matters so much to you. there is so much more work that has to be done. even as senator mccain and i are working hard on things like iran sanctions we find out we have to engage the european central bankers to make sure they're not allowing money to flow still into iran. these are issues that need advocacy every single day. i want to thank you for being so engaged and knowing how important your voice is to our demkcy here in america. >> general yadlin, you're normally at your very important think tank institute for national security studies in israel but as you travel the
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world and you spend time in places, jerusalem and tel aviv, to washington, d.c., what do you think would be the most effective case from an israeli perspective for american congressional representatives to hear? >> i think they deserve a lot of credit for what they are doing. they have to continue with the very good job they are doing. i think the most important thing at that point is to fight the d.b.s., the wrong narrative about israel. israel is a just cause. israel has the moral ground. israel should be in the same values that we all believe in the path that israel represents and there is no more a war. it is not a war with airplanes, it's not a war with tanks, it's a war with speeches, with the wrong narrative work a lot of lies and these people should fight it as we are doing it. we don't have -- let's say we
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should create this structure to fight this war in the same structure that fights the kinetic war but this war of words is really important. so see what israel is all about, meet the young generation. this is an amazing generation. as chief of intelligence i used to tell them, guys, i have a problem. i don't know what to do about it. do you have an idea? and these people, 25 years old, 26 years old, young person, they went for a month, went for three months and came back with the most innovative idea that one day there will be books about it. come and see them. they love them, love them, together we can do it. >> and lastly, final word goes to senator john mccain, what is
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your message to this group? >> i often tell my baptist friends it's hard trying to do the lord's work in the city of satan. it's harder every single day. by the way, your ambassador does a great job. he really does. a fine job. despite the fact that he became a socialist in the ivy league, other than that, he's -- my friends, on iran, the only way to dissuade the iranians from the path they're on is for them to believe the united states an israel will act together. on egypt, egypt is the heart and soul of the arab world and we must pay careful attention and we must gauge our aid to egypt as to their progress. we cannot just give them a blank check but we don't want to break the camp david accords, either. they're a very serious issue. everybody in this room had something to do besides being here this morning and this
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evening. i want to thank you because you're serving a cause greater than your self-interest. you're serving the cause of democracy and freedom in a part of the world where it's a very scarce commodity. i want to thank you from this the bottom of my heart because we are in the most dangerous times as i begin my comments. your participation and your involvement and your engagement and your support and your commitment to peace has never been as important as it is today. thank you and god bless. >> i want to thank senators john mccain, kirsten gillibrand, general yadlir, thank you all for participating. >> coming up this afternoon, about two hours from now, homeland security secretary janet napolitano will testify on cybersecurity threats and focus on the executive order issued by the president dealing with cybersecurity last month.
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that joint hearing, the senate homeland security committee and the house committee will be live at 2:30 eastern. at this hour, the president is lunching with paul ryan, the chairman of the budget committee and the ranking member, chris van hollen. at 1:55 he'll sign the violence against women act signed by -- passed by the house last week. we'll have live coverage of that here at 1:55 eastern. meanwhile the president's nominee to be interior secretary is before the energy and resources committee this afternoon. she started this morning with the hearing. it's under way. follow that on c-span3. earlier she discussed the challenges and opportunities that the interior department frents in her opening statement. here's what she had to say. >> the department of the superior has many challenges as have been expressed in the introductions but also many opportunities to address them. the decisions we make have the potential to shape our country for years to come.
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on energy, i have a commitment to the president's all of the above energy strategy. increasing our nation's production on both -- of both traditional and renewable sources of energy on our public lands, implementing innovative technologies and new fro tiers both on shore and offshore, to encourage both safe and responsibility development of our resources. i also understand as a business person it's important to bring certainty and clarity to industry. industry doesn't mind the rules, they want to know what the rules are and want predictability as they make investments to power our future. on conservation, observing our lands, waters and wildlife, define us as a people and help make this place america the beautiful. there's a generation of children growing up with a disconnect from nature. kaiser family foundation did a study showing on average children spend 53 hours a week in front of a screen of some sort. other studies only 30 minutes a
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week in unstructured outside play. i know that the department of interior has an important role to play along with neighborhood parks to the vastlands of the b.l.m., perhaps leading into the centennial of our national park service which will occur in 2016 to ensure our open spaces, trails and parks are both accessible and relevant to all people from all backgrounds. on climate change, the president has made it clear that cly mad change is an important issue for our nation. we've experienced storms, wild fires, droughts and floods and if con firled for this position i look forward to tapping the vast scientific resources of the department of the interior like the u.s. geological survey, the bureau of reclamation and other agencies of the federal government to understand and prepare for the impact of climate change. if confirmed as secretary of the interior, i pledge to abide and
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uphold the principles of transparency and integrity that have defined me throughout my business career, to uphold our sacred trust responsibility to american indians and alaska natives, continuing the nation-to-nation relationship that has been so important for us to maintain with indian country. i will support the unique needs of our insular areas, whether in the pacific or the caribbean, and commitment -- and commit to making wise decisions about the use and conservation of the resources with which we have been so blessed in this country of ours. >> by the way that hearing continues live, you can follow it on our companion network, c-span3. vice president joe biden addressed the aipac policy conference monday he reconfirmed the commitment to israel noting the new threats israel faces from the destabilization of egypt and iran's nuclear program. he's addressing the -- he
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addressed the group one month ahead of president obama's visit to israel coming up next month. this is about 40 minutes. >> i am a zionist. you don't have to be a jew to be a zionist. these are the words of a man who began his pro-israel journey in 1973, sitting in the study of prime minister golda meir. other the next four decades, joe biden returned to jerusalem dozens of times and has been able to call every prime minister since golda meir a friend. four years ago, months after you were sworn into office, mr. vice president, we welcomed you to the aipac policy conference. i think it's only fitting that at the beginning of your second term, we have the honor of welcoming you again. [applause]
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the past four years have seen tremendous change and transition in the mideast but one constant has been the strength of the u.s.-israel strategic relationship. thanks to president obama and you, mr. vice president, we know that we have an administration committed to the security of israel. we are fortunate that our leaders share the conviction that iran must never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon capability. the world community has rallied around the united states. we have implemented tough sanctions that have left the iranian regime more isolated than ever before. however, the islamic republic remains the greatest security threat to both america and israel and its quest to become a
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nuclear power continues. we look forward to continue to work closely with the administration and congress to ensure that iran never acquires the bomb. we thank you, mr. vice president, for your commitment to direct negotiations between israel and the palestinians. that was clear when you took a principled stand against the palestinian statehood bid at the united nations. we remain hopeful that we can work together to forge a lasting, negotiated peace resulting in a jew herb state of israel living side-by-side with a demilitarized palestinian state. but perhaps the most tangible evidence of your support has been through your commitment to foreign aid and to israel
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missile defense programs. because of this administration's dedication to israel, more than $400 million has been invested. your support, mr. vice president, during operation pillar of defense and commitment to these life-saving systems enables israel to defend itself while preventing a wider conflict. millions of israelis are able to sleep more soundly tonight because of the investment and commitment you, president obama, and congress have made to israel's security. vice president biden, please give your deepest thanks to president obama for his support in strengthening the u.s.-israel alliance. and please thank him for going
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to israel in a few weeks. this trip sends an important message to the people of israel and the world about america's commitment to the jewish state. ladies and gentlemen, i'm honored to introduce and welcome a friend who stands with us now and has stood with us always, a steadfast supporter of the u.s.-israel relationship, the vice president of the united states, joe biden. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. it's great to be here. ladies and gentlemen, oh, what a difference four years makes.
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i look out there and see an old friend in ned lantos -- an old friend anet lantos. her husband was my foreign policy advisor for years, he used to say, joe, in his hungarian accent, he said, joe, we must do another fundraiser for aipac. i did more fundraisers for aipac than anybody. it's great to be with you all, great to see you. mr. president, thank you so much for that kind introduction and present-elect bob cohen and the entire board of director, i'm delighted to be with you today but i'm particularly delighted to be with an old friend and he is an old friend, we use that phrase lightly in washington but it's real, and i think he'd even
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tell you, ehud barack. it's great to be here with you. there is a stand up guy. there is a stand-up guy. standing up for his country, putting his life on the line for his country. and continuing to defend the values that we all share. i'm a fan of the man. thanks for being here. good to be with you again. ladies and gentlemen, a lot of you know me, if you're old enough, some of you don't know me and understand i can't see now but in the bleachers, either side, i'm told you have 2,000 young aipac members there. we talked about this a lot over the years.
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we've talked about it a lot. this is the life blood. this is the connective tissue. this is the reason why we will never forget. ladies and gentlemen, we've stood shoulder-to-shoulder, a lot of us in this auditorium, defending the legitimate intres of israel and our enduring commitment over the last 40 years. many of you in this hall, i won't start to name them but many of you in this hall, starting with annette lanto s's house who is not here, god rest his soul, and many of you have been teachers and mentors. a lot of this started at my father's dinner table. he's what you would call a righteous christian. we gathered at the dinner table to have conversation and
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incidentally eat as we were growing up. it was at that table i first heard the phrase that is overused sometimes today but in a sense not used meaningfully enough. i first heard the phrase never again. it was at that table i that learned that the only way to ensure it could never happen again was the establishment and existence of a secure jewish state of israel. i remember my father being baffled at the debate taking place at the end of world war ii talking about how to remember it at that time, about how there could be a debate about whether or not within the community, of whether or not to establish the state of israel. my father would say, were he a jew, he would never, never entrust the security of his people to any individual nation, no matter how good and how noble
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it was, like the united states. everybody knows it's real. but i want you to know one thing which some of you, i've met with a lot of you over the last 40 years but the last four years as well. president obama share miscommitment. we both know that israel faces new threats, new pressures, and uncertainty. the defense minister and i have discussed it often. in the area of national security and the threats to the existence continue but they have changed as the world and the region have cheaged over the last decade. the arab spring at once full of both hope and uncertainty has required israel and the united states to reassess old and settled relationships. iran, iran's dangerous nuclear weapons program and it has continued to support dangerous
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organizations like hezbollah and hamas, not only endanger israel but engage the world. attempts of much of the world to isolate and delegitimize the state of israel are increasingly common and taken as the norm in other part os the world. all these, all these pressures are similar but different. and they put nor mouse pressure on the state of israel. we understand that. and west teshly understand that if we make a mistake, it's not a threat to our existence but if israel makes a mistake, it could be a threat to its very existence. that's why -- [applause] that's why from the moment the president took office he has acted swiftly and decisively to make clear to the whole world and to israel that even as
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circumstances have changed, one thing has not -- our deep commitment to the security of the state of israel. that has not changed. that will not change as long as i and he are president and vice president of the united states. it's in our naked self-interest beyond the moral imperative. and all of you, i thank you for continuing to remind the nation and the world of that commitment and while we may not always agree on tactics, and i've been around a long time, i've been there for a lot of prime ministers, we've always disagreed on tactics. we've always disagreed at some point or another on tackics. ladies and gentlemen, we have never disagreed on the strategic
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imperative that israel must be able to protect its own, must be able to do it on its own and we must always stand with israel to be sure that can happen. and we will. that's why -- that's why we worked so hard to make sure israel keeps its qualitative edge in the miths of the -- in the midst of the great recession. i've served with eight presidents of the united states of america. i can assure you unequivocally no president has done as much to physically secure the state of israel as president barack obama. president obama last year requested $3.1 billion in military assistance for israel. the most in history. he has directed close coordination strategically and operationally between our government and our israeli partners including our
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political, military and intelligence leadership. i can say with certitude in the last eight presidents i don't know any time, ehud, when there's been as many meetings, as much coordinationing between our intelligence services and our military. as a matter of fact, they're getting tired of traveling back across the ocean, i think. under this administration, we've held the most regular and largest ever joint military exercises. we've invested $275 million in iron dome including $70 million that the president directed to be spent last year on an urgent basis to increase the production of iron dome batteries and interceptors. not long ago i would have had to describe to an audience what iron dome was.
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how it would work. why funding it mattered. i don't have to explain to anybody anymore. everybody gets it. everybody saw, the world saw firsthand why it was and remains so critical. for too long, when those sirens blared in the streets of the cities bordering gaza, the only defense had been a bomb shelter. but late last year iron dome made a difference. when rockets rained on israel iron dome shot them out of the sky, intercepting nearly 400 rockets in november alone. it was our unique partnership, israel and the united states, that pioneered this technology and funded it.
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and it is in that same spirit that we're working with israel to join and develop -- to jointly develop new systems, interceptors to defeat long-range threats from iran, syria, and hezbollah. equally as urgent. we are working to deploy a powerful new radar. networked with early warning satellites that could buy israel valuable time in the event of an attack. this is what we do. this is what we do to ensure israel can counter and defeat any threat from any corner. but that's only the first piece of this equation. let me tell you, and i expect i share the view of many of you who have been involved with aipac for a long time.
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let me tell you what worried me the most today, what worried me more than any time in the 40 years i have been engaged, that's different than any time in my career. that is the wholesale seemingly coordinated effort to delegitimize, to delegitimize israel. as a jewish state. that is the single most dangerous, pernicious change that has taken place in my humble opinion since i've been engaged. and ladies and gentlemen, it matters. it matters. to put it bluntly, there is only one nation, only one nation in the world, that has unequivocally, without hesitation, and consistently confronted the efforts to
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delegitimize israel. at every point in our administration, at every juncture, we have stood up on the legitimacy on behalf of the legitimacy of the state of israel. president obama has been a bull wark against those in every step of the way. wherever he goes in the world he makes clear that although we want better relations with muslim majority countries, israel's legitimacy and our support for it is not a matter of debate. it's simple. and he means it. it is not a malter of debate. don't raise it with us. do not raise it with us. it is not negotiable. as recently as last year, the only country on the united nations human rights down stoil
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vote against, i think it's 36 countries, don't hold me to the exact numbers, but the only country on the human rights council of the united nations to vote against the establishment of a fact-finding mission on settlements was the united states of america. we opposed the unilateral efforts of the palestinian authority to circumvent direct negotiations, pushing by pushing for statehood and organizations like unesco. we stood strong with israel in its right to defend itself after the report was issued in 2009 while the rest of the world including some of our good friends were prepared to embrace the report we came out straightforwardly, expressed our concerns and with recommendation. when israel was criticized in the aftermath of the flotilla in 2010. we spent a lot of time on the phone, ehud and i, the defense
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minister and i, we spent a lot of time on that phone with my interseeding and going to the united nations directly by telephone, speaking to the secretary general, making sure that one thing was made clear. israel had the right, had the right to impose that blockade. ladies and gentlemen -- that's why we refuse to attend events such as the 10th anniversary of the 2001 world conference on racism that shamefully equated zionism with racism. that's why we rejected anti-semitic rhetoric from any corner and from leaders of any nation. and that's why i'm proud to say, my friends, the new sec retir of state john kerry spoke out against that kind of language in ank rah just this last tissue in